Individual property owners who have purchased a share in KGIC and paid the yearly assessment are entitled to use the water. Each share amounts to pro rata portion of the available water flowing through the main headgate. KGIC has devised a schedule of when shareholders may take their water based upon how many shares they own. Overall, a shareholder gets a percentage of the water flowing at any particular time. As the amount of water fluctuates the total amount received may raise or lower, although the percentage is the same. Shareholders pay an assessment each year for the delivery of water, not the actual water itself. The company water originates from Clear Creek and is delivered to KGIC by the Agricultural Ditch & Reservoir Co.
An easement allows the ditch company use of the land, although the ditch company does not own the property. In our case the easement is used to transport irrigation water. There are several types of easements. A prescriptive easement is one that is established by continued historical use and not necessarily expressed in a property deed. "Prescriptive Ditch Easements" allow for the "dominant use" to transport water. All utilities companies have some form of property easements.
Colorado law has upheld easements or rights-of-way for ditch companies that have established a historical and continual use. KGIC has continually operated ditches in the Kawanee Gardens neighborhood since 1928.
The easement allows KGIC personnel access to the ditch in order to clean, maintain, monitor and repair the ditch system. Most of the original lateral earthen ditches were a minimum of 12-inches in width and depth for water flow. Company volunteers often have to dig out or cut banks of the open ditch to maintain that minimum. Easement Access is considered a "reasonable" distance for someone to perform maintenance on the ditch. A reasonable distance maybe 5 feet to 10 feet, or more, on each side of the ditch, perpendicular to the direction of flow. This may include above and below the ditch. Colorado law stipulates that access cannot be blocked, e.g with fences or other encroachments. KGIC personnel will make every effort to work with property owners, especially with regard to fences and gates, while making sure company representatives can access the ditch for routine and emergency inspections.
KGIC shares are private property and are bought and sold in transactions between private parties. Transfers are only allowed within the same lateral. KGIC only becomes involved in transactions if they do not abide by the Company's Charter or the Operating Policies & Procedures. The shares must be in good standing with assessments paid to date. The property served must be within the boundaries of the KGIC ditch system and delivery must be within the same Lateral, or have access to the same Lateral of the share being sold. Transfers are within the same lateral as to avoid impact on historical flows and scheduling for the other laterals. KGIC charges a $10 per share transfer fee for record keeping and issuing a new certificate. For more information contact the company Secretary/Treasurer.
In order to transfer a share of KGIC water rights the current owner completes the backside of their stock certificate and presents the certificate at the property, or home, closing.
If there is no coinciding property sale with the sale of water rights, the owner still completes the back of the certificate, but will contact the KGIC Secretary/Treasurer directly to effect the transfer.
That certificate should be presented to the company Secretary/Treasurer with a check for $10 (transfer fee). The Secretary/Treasurer will issue a new certificate in the name of the new property, or water rights, owner(s).
The $10 transfer fee can be negotiated at the closing, and/or submitted by the new owner.
If the KGIC stock certificate is not available, or for more information, contact the company Secretary/Treasurer. There is also a $10 fee for replacing a lost certificate, as long as the assessment and stock sale history are accurate.
Generally, storing water is considered impoundment and water stored longer than 72 hours requires a "storage decree" from the State of Colorado. While the company remains neutral on storing water for short periods of time, no in-stream ponds are permitted. In-stream ponds are created by widening the lateral to allow water to pool. These structures are a serious impediment to the flow of water and create more opportunity for seepage and evaporation. An in-stream pond may not comply with the company's easement.
KGIC does not allow ponds that essentially create an 'in-stream' pond adjacent to or parallel to the lateral. These are situations created by diverting water from the lateral to a pond with an overflow from the pond that returns excess water back the lateral downstream. These type of diversions are essentially altering the natural flow of the lateral. Any effluent, whether from a pond or another source, that enters the ditch system may likely create a problem for downstream users. The company will remove any man-made sources of effluent that enters the lateral system.
Yes, this is proof of ownership in the Company and your water right. Store this certificate in a safe place. If you have lost or damaged your stock certificate contact the company Secretary/Treasurer to inquire about a replacement. The company may require supporting documents and need to research records to affirm ownership of the stock. A replacement fee will be required.
In many cases if a property with an existing KGIC water right is sold, a certificate makes it much easier to transfer the water right to the new property owner.
For more information about Colorado Water, Ditch and Irrigation Companies go to Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Water Law by clicking the link below: